Tip of the Month, April 2012: Be a Bartender At Some Point In Your Life


Good bartenders are worth their weight in gold. They can make delicious drinks, lend a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on when times are bad and make sure that you don’t get behind the wheel when you’ve had too much to drink.

If you’ve never considered becoming a bartender, you should, at least for a while. Do it part-time, do it full-time. It’s a great job when you are in college, grad school, or just in need of some extra cash. Many people make a career of bartending, especially if they can work in a nice restaurant where the tips are great and they are able to spend part of their days playing golf, running errands, exercising, etc. It’s hard work, but rewarding at the same time.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I was a bartender (mid 80s to late 90s) and I wouldn’t have traded the experience for the anything. So here are my “Top 10 Reasons to Bartend” (in addition to making great tips, flexible scheduling, having fun at work, learning how to make excellent drinks and pouring a great draft beer, etc.)

  1. Become an active listener. Shut up, really hear what others are saying and be able to reflect that back. Master this skill and it will take you far in many aspects of your life.
  2. Gain networking opportunities (not only for other jobs, but also for services such as house painting, baby sitters, yard care – you name it.)
  3. Learn never to discuss politics/religion in a group of people. Being able to do this is just smart.
  4. Meet interesting and diverse people, some of whom may become friends for life. Especially if you pay attention to #1 above.
  5. Learn that your problems are minor compared to many others
  6. Take care of others, even if you have to cut them off. Be empathetic.
  7. Learn tons about great customer service (not only do your tips depend on it; it’s a great lesson in humility.)
  8. Combine mental and physical activities (such as math, lifting cartons of beer, etc.)
  9. See how others act/look when they’ve had too much to drink (and hopefully learn from it.)
  10. Gain an appreciation for others in the industry.

One of the best things about bartending is that many of the skills you need to be successful transfer to other parts of your life, including other jobs/careers, personal relationships, etc. And you may just get a group of happy customers to boot!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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